Youth for Refugees

Local Volunteers in Serbia step up when Humanitarian crisis lands on their doorstep


When the Balkan Route was shut down, local volunteers in Serbia stepped up. In 2015 the Balkan Route to central Europe was used by approximately 1 million refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria. In 2016 it was closed unexpectedly, leaving 7,000 refugees stranded at the border of Serbia and North Macedonia.

ASunaj Musliulocal, a qualified social worker, volunteered during the crisis that ensued in Presevo, Serbia. He believes the most important contribution the volunteers who assisted the stranded refugees made was being able to provide the refugees with information to help them figure out which country they wanted to settle in. His interview details the empathy many residents of Presevo felt toward the refugees having fled prosecution themselves 20 years previously. Residents of Presevo turned offices into shelters and private homes began preparing food for as many hungry mouths as they could feed.

Watch this 5-minute video as Sunaj explains about the day-to-day activities of the volunteers, the relationships they built with the refugees and the legacy of the crisis on the town of Presevo.